I’ve been down with Kim Gray ever since I saw him perform with Skinny Kids at the 2014 Music Waste Festival, and it’s been inspiring to observe his growth as an artist ever since. Gray first branched out under his own name with the Backseat Bingo EP in 2015, then ramped it up with the Malcolm Biddle-produced full-length Perfume in 2016. As ever, Compulsion takes his tasty brand of lo-fi psych-pop to another level.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again every album he puts out until it happens, but Compulsion feels like the one to break on through to the other side and have his embraced by the cultural establishment as the heir apparent to Mac DeMarco. “Peroxide Blondes” makes as good a case as any to verify that claim. The song has a distanced, summery sound with poetically intimate yet relatable lyrics that wash through you like a half-forgotten memory that suddenly ignites into vivid technicolour when the right smell or taste drifts past the senses. It’s the stuff of waking dreams.
Gray tells PopMatters about the song: “‘Peroxide Blondes’ is a song about the connection between people in the digital age. When I wrote the song, I had just undergone a lot of changes and cleaned my life up a bit. A lot of the song came from my own experiences being newly single and meeting people. I was also watching everyone around me be consumed by things like dating apps. I was really intrigued by this, and I think a lot of those experiences are in this song.
“A lot of the song comes from thinking about social media and being connected to so many people but on such a surface level. Everything just looks so glossy! I think it’s pretty easy to feel disconnected from the world while being so seemingly connected. It’s a strange thing - like I know what some dude I went to high school with had for dinner last night but I often don’t even know what’s going on with the people closest to me.”
Compulsion is due out on August 11th through Bad Diet. Let “Peroxide Blonde” tantalize your senses now.